Let’s Tax Abortions!


Nick Baumann, who broke the story last week about the Republican anti-abortion bill that would have limited the definition of “rape,” explains today what else is in the bill. Aside from making the Hyde Amendment permanent (currently it has to be renewed every year), there’s this:

Another part of the law is a sweeping attack on tax benefits and deductions that affect abortion. It would, for example, forbid self-employed people from deducting abortion costs as medical expenses and would outlaw the use of funds from tax-exempt Health Savings Accounts to pay for abortions. In effect, this would raise the taxes of nearly anyone who had an abortion or purchased insurance that covered abortion. “Going after the tax subsidies that affect abortion” would represent a “substantial victory for the pro-life movement in America,” Timothy Jost, an opponent of abortion rights and an expert on health law at Washington and Lee University, told Mother Jones last year.

Finally, a tax increase conservatives can love! But do Republicans have any chance of actually passing this bill? In the House, sure. But in the Senate, it would be immediately filibustered and there’s nothing close to 60 votes in favor of passing it. However, Nick suggests that a more moderate version of the bill might have a chance if Republicans manage to attach it to some kind of “must pass” legislation.

But this leaves me confused: amendments can be filibustered too, can’t they? The Senate considers must-pass legislation all the time, and if the minority party could attach amendments like this willy nilly, we’d see a helluva lot of minority amendments attached to must-pass legislation. But we don’t. So something’s wrong here. Can anyone explain to me whether this danger is real or not?

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